Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer
  • .: Welcome to my blog :.

    I'm John R. "Buck" Surdu. I have two Web pages that contain relatively static information about my professional life (including papers I've written) and my hobby life (including information about rules I've written and my wargaming projects). This blog is where I plan to post personal tidbits, like vacation pictures, wargaming projects, etc. Enjoy!
  • Russian Buildings for 28mm Skirmish Games

    Posted By on December 6, 2018

    My buddy Ma’k was harassing me last night about not having posted anything to my blog in a while.  I have been crazy busy with work and trying to live up to my commitments for the Albedo Combat Patrol Kickstarter, so I have done very little hobby work for myself.  In fact, I even sent some figures off to a painter, which I rarely do, because I was worried I wouldn’t get to them in finite time.

    A long shot of the Things from the Basement Russian buildings

    Several of us in the HAWKs have decided to make 2019 our Barbarossa theme year.  While running other games, we will also run a batch of Barbarossa games in both 28mm and 10mm.  To that end, I have been painting Russian infantry, tanks, and now vehicles. At Fall In last month, I picked up several buildings from Things from the Basement.  Working a little bit each night, I was able to finish them up yesterday.

    The Russian farm from Things form the Basement.

    The instructions on the Web page were for 15mm buildings, but they applied equally to the 28mm ones.  The kits went together easily.  Mine aren’t as colorful as the ones on the Things from the Basement web page, but I am reasonably happy with the results.

    Two more buildings with a 1:48 T-34/76 fo scale.

    Additional buildings.

    I had some old Hovels (I think) Russian buildings I had purchased for my Battle of Peoter’s Pig skirmish game.  I was happy to see that the scales are close enough that I can put them on the table with the newer buildings.

    Things from the Basement building (left) and two older Hovels buildings.

    For my buildings I was looking for a weathered, rural, poor look, and I think I achieved that.  I think to have an award-winning table, I am going to have to add some color.  I am thinking bout painting the roof of the church light blue like the one on the Things from the Basement web page.

    HAWKs Wargaming Calendar for Sale

    Posted By on November 14, 2018

    The Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKs) have created a wargaming calendar on Zazzle.com.  It is full of high quality images of games the HAWKs have run at conventions.  The dates of conventions that were known when we created the calendar are annotated on it.  Don’t miss out on this really neat calendar.  Proceeds support the HAWKs Armies for Kids project, in which we provide painted armies, rules, etc. for kids to take home and play with their buddies.

    The calendar is available here:  https://www.zazzle.com/hawks_2019_miniatures_gaming_wall_calendar-158945036899989441

    Vehicles for “Technical November”

    Posted By on November 5, 2018

    November’s challenge in Azazel’s Bitz Box is “technical,” meaning vehicles.  I already had a bunch of Russian 1:48 scale tanks awaiting painting, and I intended to post those.  I also wanted to do something “new,” started after the announcement of the challenge.  So I decided to create two science fiction tanks for my Combat Patrol science fiction games.

    I started with some cheap plastic tanks that came in a bag with some poorly sculpted and molded green army men.  Then I built up the super structure to make them look like assault guns.

    The beginnings of the superstructure built on a cheap dollar store tank body. The superstructure is made of matt board, some plastic bits from the bit box, and an excess GW hatch.

    I then added a few extra bits to make it look less homemade.

    The addition of a few more bits, the hatch doors, and commander’s weapon, etc.

    I then primed them with Army Painter Angel Green paint.

    The vehicles after a coat of Angel Green paint.

    I then decided to do something a little different.  I used some cans to Testor’s texture paint to apply what I hoped would look like dirt and weathering.

    After the application of Testor’s textured paint.

    I think I applied it a little too heavily for my first attempt.  So when I applied this technique to my Russian WWII tank, I went a little lighter.

    Russian infantry in front of two T-26 tanks.

    A closer look at a T-26 with the rare 37mm cannon.

    Russian infantry in front of a KV-2 and KV-1.

    A closer look of the KV-1

    And now another look at the two science fiction vehicles.




    Posted By on November 2, 2018

    The GASLIGHT table at HARCON

    One of the HAWKs is the faculty mentor for the Harford Community College gaming club.  That club runs a gaming day every year, called HARCON.  The HAWKs have supported HARCON for years with games.  This is a small, multi-genre event, so we found years ago, that we are unlikely to get someone to devote four hours to a miniatures game, but they are willing to give it a try for an hour or two.

    The game is afoot!

    For the past three years, we have been running a really large game that allows passers by to participate for an hour or two.  We have en0ugh of our own HAWKs around the table to act as opponents and keep the game moving.

    This year’s theme at HARCON was Steam Punk, so we decided to run a large GASLIGHT game set on Mars with many different factions.

    Venusians attacking Prussians

    Rooman crosswbowmen close assault a British timer clad

    Bicycle lancers battling British infantry for control of the crashed aether flyer.

    Sanwar advancing on the female lancers

    Female hussars with helicopter support advancing toward the Sanwar

    More fighting around the crashed airship

    Ostrich lancers and Roomans advance!

    British infantry, plant men, and Red Martians

    Roomans with support from “the copper tank.”

    Another view of Venusians

    Another view of ostrich lancers

    Green Martians fighting female hussars, including some mounted on “Death Jaws.”

    Though attendance at HARCON seemed to be a little light, the game was fun and successful.  We introduced six new people to miniatures gaming.

    Terrain Crate

    Posted By on November 2, 2018

    Part of the Battlefield Terrain Crate

    I bought into the Mantic Terrain Crate Kickstarter.  I received all of my stuff a couple of months ago.  I have been too busy with work to paint many figures, but I have spent a little time painting some terrain.

    Bookshelves from the Wizard’s Study and Library sets.

    These were fun to paint.  as they are almost entirely dry brushed, I can paint these in the family room, watching Perry Mason with my wife and daughter.  I have a couple more sets to paint, including the rest of the Wizard’s Study and science fiction terrain.

    Azazel’s Bitz Box Unit Contest

    Posted By on October 8, 2018

    Azazel’s Bitz Box hosts mostly painting challenges.  This month’s challenge is for units.  See post here:  https://azazelx.com/2018/09/24/unit-ed-october-2018-community-painting-challenge-also-orctober-orktober/

    So, I decided to finish up a few units that had been partially completed for a while.  These are all related to my Operation Sea Lion games.  Warlord sells the characters from the British sitcom, Dad’s Army (https://us-store.warlordgames.com/collections/dad-s-army).  I have the older Copplestone Dad’s Army figures (not authorized), but I couldn’t resist these too.  The Warlord figures come with both the characters in civilian clothes with identifying armbands and the characters in uniforms.  Here they are:




    Captain Mainwaring




    And here they are altogether:

    Dad’s Army characters in civilian clothes

    Dad’s Army characters in uniform

    And here’s some other stuff I finished recently.

    Dolly Madison rescuing the portrait of George Washington before the British burned down the White House during the War of 1812.  Figure from First Corps.

    Some Reaper power armor infantry

    A gamer

    The brain in a bottle…

    A better view of the brain

    Female defenders of Little Baisley by the Sea, the town I use for all my Sea Lion games.

    Civilians from Little Baisley by the Sea

    Hell hound from Reaper

    And a last look at some defenders of the town. I really like the sculpting of the two figures on the left!

    Barrage 2018 is TODAY

    Posted By on September 28, 2018

    Don’t let the rain keep you away from Barrage 2018.  Barrage runs today (at noon) until 2000 tomorrow, Saturday.  Don’t miss the best two days of gaming you’ll experience for a long time.

    See www.hawks-barrage.org for more information, directions, lists of games, etc.

    You could lament the rain, or you could come to Barrage 2018.  We have spacious, free, paved parking right next to the convention venue.  You’ll barely get your feet wet.  And it is easy to carry your loot from the deals and flea markets to your car and come back for more!

    Barrage 2018 is just TWO days away

    Posted By on September 26, 2018

    These two soldiers will be at Barrage in TWO days.

    September 28-29, 2018.  Don’t miss these TWO days of gaming fun!

    See www.hawks-barrage.org for more details and to sign up.

    Barrage 2018 is in FOUR Days

    Posted By on September 24, 2018

    These four soldiers would rather be at Barrage 2018 in just FOUR days.

    Barrage 2018 is in just FOUR days, 28-29 September 2018.  Don’t miss this excellent two-day gaming event with over 70 events, a third of which are kid friendly.  Find more information and signup at www.hawks-barrage.org.  This is the best small convention in the region.

    And don’t miss out on a chance to see the vendors who will be at Barrage 2018:

    • Age of Glory
    • Pictor’s Studio
    • Critical Hit
    • B&V Traders
    • War Store Collectables
    • Six Sided Simulations
    • LittleWarsTV

    Five Days Until Barrage 2018

    Posted By on September 23, 2018

    These five space mercenary women are headed to Barrage 2018 in five days!

    Barrage 2018, run by the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKs) is just FIVE days away.  These TWO DAYS of non-stop gaming are just around the corner.  Don’t miss this terrific event. There are lots of games that are kid-friendly, so bring your younger gamer and build some memories.  Go to www.hawks-barrage.org for more details, directions, local hotels, and to sign up.

    These five soldiers are preparing for Barrage 2018 in just FIVE DAYS.